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National Train Your Dog Month

January 22, 2019 | by verity.ramus@hooknortonvets.co.uk | Pets

Large Animal Receptionist, Nikki Inglis has put together details of fun activities you can do with you dog. These help to keep you both entertained and give your dog a bit of variety and a change from the normal walk routes! Follow this link to our YouTube page where you can see more training ideas you can do any time, any day, anywhere!

Canicross – This is canine cross country running. You can start this sport by just running with your dog, ideally interval training with walking and running until you and your dog hit a balance. It is best to use some type of harness for this so as not to be holding their collar. The sport is regulated by The Kennel Club and they lay out certain rules for the welfare of the dogs taking part. Juliet, one of our vets, has taken part with her lovely Pointer Inka. Canicross competitions are affiliated to The Kennel Club.

FlyBall – This is a fast-moving noisy sport that dogs love. “Who wouldn’t want to fetch a ball as quick as possible?” The dogs are part of a team who compete with other teams to jump a line of fences grab a ball out of a machine and run back as fast as they can. This sport has proved to be very popular and is affiliated to The Kennel Club with its championship held at Crufts {The World’s Biggest Dog Show} in March each year.

Gun-dogs – If you have a recognised Gun-dog breed it is possible to enter Trials and Tests to prove their ability and your skills. Field Trials – these days resemble a working day on a shoot, with the dogs showing how they retrieve, flush or mark game. This is a popular activity both to watch and to take part, Vet Pauline and Receptionist Laura compete at Field Trials and Working Gun-dog Tests with their Labradors. The main difference between a Field Trial and a Working Gun-dog Test is that for Field Trials the use of live game and steadiness to shooting is tested, therefore these tend to take place in the winter shooting session, Working Gun-dog Tests are achieved by the use of dummies and can take place all year, these tests are divided by breed and altered to suit the breeds natural traits. These competitions are affiliated to The Kennel Club.

Hoopers – This is a new sport especially for dogs or owners who cannot compete in the agility competitions, possibly due to age or previous injury. Hoopers is a low impact sport that primarily consists of hoops and tunnels instead of jumps. Hoopers is a fun way to bond with your dog for both of your enjoyment. Although at present Hoopers are not affiliated to The Kennel Club, by searching on the website there are a number of clubs and instructors available one site is www.caninehoopersuk.co.uk which has a club membership and runs classes and competitions throughout Britain.

Scentwork and Nosework – Your dog loves to sniff and the world is a completely different place to him than us, he sees through his nose! There are lots of new groups setting up to train you and your dog to become scent detectives. You can train with people who do sniffing professionally, i.e. ex Police or Customs, or you can just train for fun and compete against other like-minded people. One such group is Scentwork UK {one of our team train with them}. The dogs learn to identify a set of smells and to indicate their hiding place to their owner/handler. In competition the team start at Level 1, this has 4 sections with the dogs searching defined areas inside and out including a car search. The hides are made so the dogs can almost retrieve them but not quite. As the sport is evolving the top Level at the moment is Level 7 but it is intended to reach Level 10/12. The teams can win a trophy plus rosettes for a place and points towards an Excellent Rosette and the “Dog of the Year Award”. This new sport is available to all dogs and their motto is “Any Breed, Any Age, Any Rescue Can Do Scentwork” it is not affiliated to The Kennel Club but their website holds lots of information for newcomers and it is a growing activity, www.scentworkuk.com has lists of local trainers and venues. Interestingly one great aspect of this new sport is its inclusiveness as even reactive dogs can partake, as well as blind, deaf, disadvantaged or disabled dogs. See the photos and videos to find our more!

Trialing – Dogs use a different method of scenting or sniffing when they are trailing, instead of tracking the ground scent of the footprint they air scent the skin particles falling off in the air. If you and your dog team are well trained you can volunteer for rescue work. But for fun www.Pettraileruk.co.uk is a fun place to start, this involves man-trailing or pet trailing ie an elaborate game of “Hide and Seek”, this can be daytime or night time.

Written by verity.ramus@hooknortonvets.co.uk

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